That's the thesis of this Associated Press story from a couple days back, and it's hard to argue with the numbers. To wit:
Yet when the nation's best high school players gathered last summer for the Elite 24 game, no New Yorkers were on the court. When the votes were tallied for this year's AP college preseason All-America team, only one of 27 players was from the city. In the NBA, the number of players from city high schools is at a modern low. [...]
The best New York born-and-bred pro under 30? Probably Sebastian Telfair, currently a backup in Minnesota. [...]
"Memphis, Atlanta, Baltimore, D.C., Chicago, they're all producing better players than New York right now," says Jerry Meyer, national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com.
Whether this is something anyone outside New York actually cares about is up for debate. I would tend to think most people don't care, especially when it comes to college hoops; there are simply too many good players from various parts of the country, and so many good programs out there, that fans probably don't take note of this all too often. Maybe St. John's, Seton Hall and Rutgers fans do. Maybe not. (I'm betting Knicks wouldn't care where their stars come from, so long as those players are actually stars. Beggars and choosers, etc.)
But still, those numbers are baffling. Only one AP preseason All-American honoree hails from the self-proclaimed hoops mecca? The best under-30 New York native in the NBA is ... Sebastian Telfair? Yeesh. Whatever the reasons -- the AP highlights the widespread state of modern hoops, the media's ability to get you noticed as a top-flight high school player no matter your hometown, and globalization as factors -- that's a stark contrast from the city's image as a talent machine. Apparently, it isn't, and it hasn't been for years.